Over the last year we’ve continued to keep you updated on the craziness and creativity that is Our Hit Parade. The live top-ten countdown show is a cabaret created by Tony nominee and Obie winner Kenny Mellman (Kiki & Herb), Bridget Everett, Neal Medlyn, producer and MTV cameraman Brendan Kennedy, and writers Ada Calhoun and Peter Schjeldahl. It is inspired by the musical sketch series Your Hit Parade that ran on radio and then television from 1935 to 1959. On that show, cast members performed the week’s most popular songs as comically literal skits. Today the show is performed as cabaret with a rotating cast of guest musicians in New York City.
Seeing the name Britney Spears appear anywhere in relation to cover songs should strike fear into your heart. The infamous pop music icon has a storied history of disastrous covers, made all the more notorious by the popularity and elitist appeal of the classics she has mangled. Any listing of all-time worst cover songs is all but certain to include either her 2000 mauling of “I Can’t Get No (Satisfaction)” (which even this Spears apologist admits is truly dreadful) or the 2002 reincarnation of “I Love Rock N Roll” that got one bewildered journalist noting that “Joan Jett would be rolling in her grave if she were dead.”
Fortunately, it appears that the pop superstar may have grown wise to the ire her cover songs inspire and withdrew from a game she clearly hadn’t the skills to play. Meanwhile, Britney effect has continued to pervade the world of cover songs on the flip side of the coin: not as one who covers but rather as one who is covered – arguably a weightier assessment of artistic importance than a knack for musical reinterpretation of another’s work. Some of the covers out there of Britney Spears tunes are excellent – and even most of the rest turn out more interesting than your average remake.